Herman Mashaba is the founder of African hair care brand, ‘Black Like Me’, and is one South Africa’s earliest and wealthiest entrepreneurs, building his successful business since the difficult times of apartheid in South Africa. He was hosted in the second Forbes Africa Titans event on 18 September.
Speaking on why he set up a hair care brand, Mashaba said, “I found the demand for the hair-care product and I knew it would be a gold mine! I took the chance because I believe that you only live once, I was pro-active so I put together a good team and the ‘Black Like Me’ empire was born”.
His determination traces back to his early days as a child in GaRamotse in Hammanskraal with his sisters and domestic-worker mother who worked long hours to provide what little she could. But he pushed through it all and has become a notable business icon in Africa. Herman Mashaba is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Leswikeng Minerals & Energy Limited and he also heads and is on the board of several other companies.
His journey as a business man goes way back to a time when he sold almost everything from insurance to crockery and then he discovered black hair products and, with the help of Connie, his partner and wife of over 30 years, an empire was built.
In 1994, Mashada was named New Nation/Engen Businessman of the year, and Marketing Person of the year by the Institute of marketing Management; in 2001 he got the SABC/Tribute Achievers Award; and in 2005 he got an Honorary Award by UNISA for Outstanding Entrepreneur and Leader in the Business Environment.
Herman says that the greatest risk in any business is political instability, “We have to try to make our country the best it can be. Luck, hard-work, discipline and integrity are what it takes to succeed”. He also says that education would be his priority and main focus area if he were president of his country. He revealed that his greatest choice yet remains marrying his wife, Connie.